I attended an event hosted by Love Food Hate Waste last year with Nancy Birtwhistle, which talked about how much bread gets wasted in the UK. It was a great campaign to be a part of, and so when they invited me to their #MeatyIssues event, I couldn’t wait – especially as it involved one of my favourite topics to talk about on here. Meat!
The event took place at Smiths of Smithfield, a restaurant I’d actually been wanting to visit for some time, and was hosted by head of Love Food Hate Waste, Dr Richard Swannell and BBC Countryfile’s Adam Henson. Adam is the perfect man for the job, being a farmer himself.
I was genuinely shocked to learn that around £260 million is spent on beef products that are thrown away every year from UK households. That’s the equivalent of 34,000 tonnes of beef, or 300 million burgers. I can’t ever imagine throwing away a beef product because I hold it in such high regard, but these are real statistics. When I learned the stats for the bread campaign, it didn’t surprise me as much – I’d been guilty of chucking away loaves of bread in the past. But for me, throwing away a meat product, that has had years of time and money spent on it, and an animal has been slaughtered for, seems very sad.
First of all, we were given a beef butchery demonstration by a proper Devonshire butcher (my mum will be happy!). I’ve been to a few butchery events now, both personally and through the blog, all of which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. However I was pleased to learn that this one was a bit different, as it was focusing on the cheaper cuts of meat (particularly on the leg) that are still absolutely delicious.
As you can imagine, the popular cuts of meat are the ones you probably eat most regularly – fillet, sirloin, rib eye, fore rib, wing rib and so on. Once upon a time, the whole cow would be used, but today in the UK, often only the popular cuts of beef are sold and the rest of the cow goes to waste, which is such a huge shame. And it’s not rocket science to see that the farmer would make a lot more money from his or her cow if the butcher was able to sell more of the meat. One of the many reasons to make the most of the less popular cuts, such as the ‘bread and butter cut’, which looked great!
While we were watching the demonstration, we were each given a plate with arancini with a beef ragu and a beef ravioli and while were tucking into it, we learned they were made using the cheaper cuts of beef. Yet they tasted great and had a lot of flavour, which I find is usually the case with the cheaper cuts of meat – for instance, I’m a big lover of kidney and liver, which are incredibly cheap, but taste wonderful.
We then sat down to a lovely meal of braised heel of beef, which just melted in your mouth!
Love Food Hate Waste have provided some top tips to get the best from beef:
- Left-over beef doesn’t have to be used in a sandwich – it works brilliantly in a cottage pie, a soup, or shredded and added to a stir-fry.
- Not enough beef to go around? Add some chick peas, kidney beans or a potato etc. to Mexican and curry meals to make dinner more filling and save money on meat.
- Remember to check date labels so you know when your beef needs to be used by.
- If you’ve found a great special offer or just don’t want to use all of your beef at once, freeze some for another day and use as needed.
- Small portions freeze best and can be added from frozen to your dish. The most important thing is to ensure when you are re-heating the beef that it is piping hot all the way through before serving.
I was invited to attend the event by SKV Communications and Love Food Hate Waste, but did not receive any payment. All views are my own